Years after black lung claim was wrongly denied, coal miner gets his due

By Chris Hamby

After more than nine years of fighting, coal miner Steve Day was posthumously awarded federal black lung benefits.

Five-state study finds high levels of airborne chemicals near oil and gas sites

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

A study of air emissions near oil and gas wells found strikingly high levels of benzene and other dangerous chemicals in some locations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… ent Petroleum Association of America referred questions about the study to Energy In Depth, an outreach campaign it launched in 2009. Energy In Depth spokes …"

"… ut the study to Energy In Depth, an outreach campaign it launched in 2009. Energy In Depth spokeswoman Katie Brown criticized the involvement of G …"

"… was wrong, based on bad odors, symptoms such as nausea or other problems. Energy In Depth, which has criticized other studies looking at potential health e …"

Bill aims to stop coal companies from denying benefits to miners with black lung

By Chris Hamby

Two coal-state senators plan to introduce legislation to reform the federal benefits program for black lung victims.

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "judge":

"… having tobacco This is judge Tim Irwin of Tennessee. As a juvenile court judge, he is admired for kind gestures like handing out stuffed animals to small …"

"… ough New York’s luxury real estate. Keep reading 8. Sixteen high court judges ruled in 26 cases despite having a financial conflict More than half of …"

"… despite having a financial conflict More than half of federal appellate judges, arbiters of the second-highest court in the U.S., reported owning stock …"

"… -highest court in the U.S., reported owning stock in 2012. We wondered how judges were keeping track of their holdings when cases involved a company they'd …"

Critic of artificial sweeteners pilloried by industry-backed scientists

By Chris Young

Any criticism of the artificial sweetener industry is met with a barrage of criticism, often from questionable sources.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokeswoman":

"… nty of no harm to consumers under their approved conditions of use,” FDA spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman wrote in an emailed response to questions. But while man …"

"… Industry is not the enemy.” A University of Pittsburgh Medical Center spokeswoman for Madelyn Fernstrom did not respond to requests for comment by press tim …"

"… trom did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Megan Kopf, a spokeswoman for NBC, issued a statement: “We take disclosure issues seriously and ar …"

"… rest of public health,” she wrote. Amy Patterson Neubert, a Purdue spokeswoman, wrote in an email to the Center that the university has always supported …"

Black lung claims by 1,100 coal miners may have been wrongly denied

By Chris Hamby

Black lung opinions by Dr. Paul Wheeler of Johns Hopkins should be assumed to lack credibility, senators are told at a hearing.

Excerpts from this story referencing "BuzzFeed":

"… asey said.   A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins issued a statement to BuzzFeed: "Johns Hopkins commends the Subcommittee for its efforts to review the fe …"

"… mby, a former reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, now works for BuzzFeed. …"

Even low doses of arsenic trigger cancer in mice, study finds

By David Heath

Study by the National Institutes of Health found levels of arsenic similar to what some people consume caused cancer in mice.

Excerpts from this story referencing "cancer":

"… ses of arsenic and were surprised to find that many of them developed lung cancer, according to a study just published. What made the results so surprising …"

"… and Bangladesh have shown that people who drink high doses of arsenic get cancer skin, bladder and lung cancer. High levels of arsenic in well water in Ban …"

"… t people who drink high doses of arsenic get cancer skin, bladder and lung cancer. High levels of arsenic in well water in Bangladesh created one of the wor …"

"… the legal limit of arsenic in water each day, 730 will get lung or bladder cancer from it. Some scientists argue that there is a threshold dose, below whic …"

How politics derailed EPA science on arsenic, endangering public health

By David Heath

A ban on arsenic-containing pesticides was lifted after a lawmaker disrupted a scientific assessment by the EPA.

Excerpts from this story referencing "food":

"… l amounts of arsenic. It’s not just in water; it’s also in some of the foods we eat and beverages we drink, such as rice, fruit juice, beer and wine. …"

"… oxin were eliminated from drinking water, people would still consume it in food, a more vexing problem to address. Scientists are debating whether there …"

What to do if your drinking water contains arsenic

By David Heath

Millions of Americans unwittingly consume arsenic, a potent carcinogen also linked to IQ deficits in children, in their drinking water.

Foul air in heavily fracked Texas county has couple looking for a way out

By Lisa Song

After 23 years in once-placid Karnes County, Texas, Lynn and Shelby Buehring say they're moving to escape toxic fumes from a fracking boom.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Marathon Oil":

"… Like many of the facilities near the Buehrings, these sites were owned by Marathon Oil, a Houston-based company worth nearly $25 billion as of 2013. Over the ne …"

Energy Dept. confirms it's been on the wrong path since 2007

By Douglas Birch

A newly-released DOE study concludes the department can save billions by shelving a costly South Carolina nuclear fuel factory.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chemical":

"… e approach — involving “downblending” or mixing the plutonium with a chemical called an “inhibitor” to make it harder to use in a nuclear weapon and …"

"… to accomplish using existing technology. The report does not describe the chemical inhibitor involved. But the Energy Department has developed a classified s …"

"… er, that binds so tightly with plutonium it can’t be extracted without a chemical separation plant. Energy engineers have already used “stardust” to di …"

Deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion blamed on regulatory failures

A 2013 blast at West Fertilizer that killed 14 "never should have occurred," Chemical Safety Board chairman says.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Chemical Safety Board":

"… lant explosion in West, Texas, which killed 14 people and injured 226, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board reported Tuesday. Issuing the board’s preliminary findings on the April …"

Herbicide ban on hold in Sri Lanka, as source of deadly kidney disease remains elusive

By Sasha Chavkin

After Sri Lanka's announced ban on a Monsanto herbicide, opponents challenged the action and convinced the president to put the ban on hold.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… se among agricultural workers, which has not been reported in Brazil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it is now engaged in a registration review process for glyphosate, bu …"

Tough new fracking rules in Colorado drawing keen attention in Texas, where boom rages on

By Zahra Hirji, Lisa Song and Jim Morris

Air pollution rules adopted last month in Colorado may have an impact on oil and gas drilling in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… ndustry were approved only a month ago but already are making an impact in Texas, where lawmakers and energy companies have long resisted tightening air st …"

"… expressed interest in discussing whether Colorado’s rules make sense for Texas, according to Jim Marston, a vice president at EDF. Marston didn’t name …"

"… ston didn’t name the companies. “The companies are often ahead of the Texas state government,” said Marston, who works in the group’s Austin offic …"

"… y support the new regulations. Anadarko and DCP Midstream also operate in Texas. The Colorado Oil & Gas Association, a trade group, had strong object …"

Sri Lanka bans Monsanto herbicide citing potential link to deadly kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Sri Lanka orders ban on glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, citing kidney disease outbreak; Monsanto said the evidence is unproven.

Nuclear Waste: Energy Department proposes to kill multi-billion dollar nuclear fuel plant

By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith

The costliest U.S. nonproliferation program has been undone by huge cost overruns.

Nuclear Waste: Auditors find continuing mismanagement at nuclear fuel plant

By Douglas Birch

The GAO complains anew about DOE's unwillingness to investigate cost increases at the MOX plant, and learn from its mistakes there

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… fuel. The NNSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. …"

"… llions more than first estimated, due to what the GAO last year called the Energy agency’s “record of inadequate management and oversight.” The GAO r …"

"… of inadequate management and oversight.” The GAO report found that the Energy department’s April 2013 draft estimate of the total cost of the plutoniu …"

"… ignored key steps in calculating the figure.   A recently-completed Energy Department study of the plutonium plant and alternatives, not yet released …"

Nuclear Waste: Cost of South Carolina fuel plant goes up by billions of dollars — again

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Douglas Birch

The MOX plant may cost another $30 billion to complete and operate, and federal officials are newly wary.

EPA abandons major radiation cleanup in Florida, despite cancer concerns

By Douglas P. Guarino

Federal agency abandons phosphate-mining clean-up, leaving more than 100,000 residents at risk of exposure to cancer-causing radiation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tampa":

"… n approximately 10-square-mile residential area midway between Orlando and Tampa. However, Florida officials have long argued that the affected area need …"

Top environment investigations from 2013

By The Center for Public Integrity

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite environment and workers' rights investigations from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Johns Hopkins University":

"… e has helped industry defeat black lung benefits claims for ailing miners: Johns Hopkins University. Keep reading The cancer factory A decades-long spate of bladder cance …"

High bladder cancer rate shrouds New York plant, exposing chemical hazards in the workplace

By Jim Morris

A decades-long spate of bladder cancer at a Goodyear plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y. spotlights limits of regulation over dangerous chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ohio":

"… ientific support. In 1975, Peter Infante, then an epidemiologist with the Ohio Department of Health, reported significant excesses of birth defects in th …"

"… artment of Health, reported significant excesses of birth defects in three Ohio cities with PVC production sites. His study, he wrote, “demonstrated tha …"

Days after investigation, coal miners' safety net scrutinized

By Bill Buzenberg

Center's 'Breathless and Burdened' series leads U.S. senators to call for changes, major hospital to halt program and review practices.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Coal":

"… thing miners and their families in the Coal fields have known for decades. Coal companies, their lawyers and their hand-picked doctors will go to any leng …"

Behind the story: 'Breathless and Burdened'

By Chris Hamby

Reporter Chris Hamby details his yearlong look at miners suffering from black lung disease, and their struggle for benefits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Coal":

"… has a contract with miners, signed in 1969 with the passage of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, which promised to take the necessary steps to …"

'Breathless and Burdened' will examine coal industry's efforts to defeat black lung benefits claims

By Chris Hamby

Our yearlong investigative project examining how coal companies defeat sick miners' black lung benefits claims begins tomorrow.

EPA proposes crackdown on emissions from new gas, coal-fired power plants

By Kristen Lombardi

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… public comment period, and the agency plans to hold a public hearing. …"

Countries target pesticides as suspected link to rare kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Governments from El Salvador to Sri Lanka explore the role of pesticides in a malady killing laborers, as other scientists eye heat stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Harvard University":

"… potential link to kidney disease. Meanwhile, in India, new research from Harvard University and the state of Andhra Pradesh found local drinking water to be contamina …"

"… ra Pradesh in eastern India. Preliminary findings by a research team from Harvard University and the Andhra Pradesh state government showed that groundwater in affecte …"

"… in some pesticides, including in brands used in India. Dr. Ajay Singh of Harvard University, one of the study’s directors, said the findings warranted closer examin …"

Russian site eyed for Syrian chemical weapons destruction

By R. Jeffrey Smith

There’s a reason why Western officials are being nice to Moscow now — they want Russia to destroy Syria’s deadly arsenal on its own soil.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Iraq":

"… presented an authoritative, independent judgment that this time, unlike in Iraq, U.S. and allied specialists had made a sound judgment. “The informatio …"

"… m — a former Swedish defense scientist who had inspected weapons in Iraq before becoming the head of the Syrian mission — offerred additiona …"

Study delivers good, bad news on climate-impacting methane leakage from gas wells

By Lisa Song and Jim Morris

A study released today examines greenhouse-effect-causing methane emissions from natural gas drilling sites.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Natural Resources Defense Council":

"… verage amounts of methane. Vignesh Gowrishankar, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, expects industry to tout the new findings. “Industry is going to say, …"

OSHA rule targets worker exposure to silica

By Jim Morris

Citing concerns over the deadly lung disease silicosis and lung cancer, OSHA on Friday proposed a rule to control worker exposure to silica.

'Nuclear Waste' series targets seriously troubled project

By Bill Buzenberg

Center’s series kicks off an ongoing investigation into the world’s faltering efforts to control these most dangerous nuclear explosives.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Russia":

"… a started in the last days of the Clinton Administration when the U.S. and Russia agreed to dispose of 34 tons each of plutonium taken from retired nuclear …"

"… ts, the arrangement is close to collapse, due to a 600% budget overrun and Russia’s adroit diplomatic maneuvering.  A closer look at the troubling h …"